|See also:||fangirl, fanboy, fanboi, fanbrat, stan|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
A fan is a person who displays a degree of enthusiasm about a person, media text, genre, or activity. Someone can be a fan of a television show, film, book, game, musician, sports team, fandom itself, or something else.
According to H.P. Lovecraft's biographer S.T. Joshi, "fan" dates back to the late 19th century as a term denoting fans of sports teams, then extended to devoted followers of any hobby or activity. Originally, "fan" was a shortened form of "fanatic," and had a connotation of immaturity; but the meanings have diverged since. Joshi observes that science fiction, fantasy and horror fans have long been unique in not only reading and collecting the literature but writing about it, publishing reviews and essays in their own amateur magazines. The word "fan" was apparently first used by and about devotees of these genres in the early 1930s.
The plural "fen" is primarily used in Science Fiction fandom, sometimes as a self-aware way to distinguish themselves from fans of sports and other mundane activities. "Fans" is more common in Media fandom and various kinds of fanworks-producing fandom with little or no connection to traditional SF fandom.
The term otaku is used for some types of fans in Japan, and it has spread to some fandoms based on Japanese sources.
Fannish is the adjectival form--the quality of being a fan--and was coined by sf fans before 1948; see Science Fiction Citations.
- "I like that show, but I'm not fannish about it."
- "I've been a fan my whole life, but I just discovered fandom yesterday!"
Nicknames for Fans
Nicknames sometimes get attached to groups of fans of a particular thing. These nicknames may be adopted by some fans and not others, or only used by non-fans; if the latter, the nickname may be perceived as derogatory. (See, for example, the historical arguments over whether Star Trek fans ought to be called Trekkers or Trekkies.)
Fans also invent many descriptive terms for fans that have nothing to do with what media they consume; relevant information about a fan might include how long they've been in fandom, how popular they are, or whether they've had a break from reality.